BIO: Ali was signed at the beginning of November 2022 from Craigmark Burntonians. The talented youngster can play anywhere in midfield and definitely knows where the goals are. Ali will be another player that manager Tommy Sloan has brought up from the lower leagues and with Tuckers track record no doubt Ali is going to fit in well at Beechwood.
Talbot kept their winning streak going with a 4-1 win over Muirkirk to book their place in the 2nd round of the West of Scotland cup.
The Bot nearly opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. Taylor played it through the centre to find Samson but he was stretching as he hit and prodded it just wide of the left post.
In the 8th minute Aiden Wilson forced a corner out on the left and when Taylor’s low driven corner kick came over NEIL MCPHERSON met it to side-foot it home.
The visitors had an effort on target in the 14th minute. McPherson cleared O’Neill’s ball into the area but it came out to Collins at the edge of the box and he drilled a low shot on goal that Leishman smothered.
Crawford had a chance to double Talbot’s lead in the 17th minute after Boyle conceded a needless corner. When the corner came over from the right Crawford met it 6 yards out but powered his header over the bar.
In the 23rd minute Bogle produced a good save to prevent Talbot moving further ahead. Stafford drove forward before squaring the ball inside to Taylor. He slid it right to find Crawford breaking into the area and his strike was turned round the left post.
The Muirkirk keeper did well again two minutes later. Leishman bowled it out to Wardrope on the right touchline and he hit a quick diagonal pass looking to find Taylor as he raced forward but Bogle was quickly off his line to clear.
Talbot were forced into a change in the 34th minute when Wardrope took a knock and left the field to be replaced by Graham Wilson.
Crawford had his name taken a minute later for a shirt tug on O’Neill. Clark took the resultant free kick and curled it into the goal mouth where McPherson headed clear.
In the final minute of the half Taylor gathered out on the left and passed it inside to Samson who in turn teed it up for Shankland who drove it over the bar from 20 yards and the sides went in with Talbot a goal ahead.
Talbot made a positive start to the 2nd half with Taylor skinning his man down the left and sliding it inside for Samson who fell foul of a marginal offside call.
In the 49th minute Armstrong’s ball in behind found Samson racing down the left and his ball across goal was bundled behind for a corner by Boyle at the back post. When the corner came in McPherson met it and his header was cleared off the line just inside the left post.
Muirkirk gave the small band of travelling fans something to shout about when they grabbed the equaliser in the 50th minute. The defence didn’t clear a ball into the area and as it broke off a defender it landed at the feet of COLLINS on the left of the box and he placed it into the top corner to make it 1-1.
The loss of the goal galvanised Talbot and they moved back in front in the 53rd minute. Stafford was fouled out by the touchline and when Shankland whipped the free kick into the box KIER SAMSON swept it home from close range.
Clark then picked up a caution for a late sliding tackle on Taylor as he broke forward.
In the 57th minute Talbot won a free kick 30 yards from goal out on the right following a foul on Shankland. He took it himself and delivered it beyond the back post where NEIL MCPHERSON met it to squeeze a header inside the right post from a tight angle.
On the hour mark Muirkirk made a change with Gray coming on for Hay.
Talbot were controversially reduced to 10 men in the 62nd minute. Armstrong went into a full blooded challenge on Wight which seemed hard but fair, taking the ball first, but the referee shocked the home fans when he produced a straight red.
The loss didn’t change the momentum of the game and Talbot continued to push forward and nearly added to their lead in the 65th minute. Graham Wilson hit the bye line before pulling it back to Taylor who saw his first effort blocked and his subsequent attempt cleared off the line.
Muirkirk made a triple change in the 66th minute with Peck, Monan and McLean coming on for Marriott, Wight and Gordon.
Taylor did well in the 70th minute, turning Bryan inside out inside the area, before firing just wide of the right post.
A minute later Talbot did grab their 4th goal to put the game beyond any doubt. Aiden Wilson’s cross was headed behind for a corner on the left which Shankland delivered to the back post where NEIL MCPHERSON met it unchallenged to head home for his hat-trick.
In the 76th minute Bryan conceded a free kick 19 yards out for a barge on Samson. Shankland went for goal but his shot slipped just wide of the right post and into the side-netting.
Ten minutes from time Shankland’s disguised pass opened up the defence as Crawford raced down the right. He cut it back into the path of Samson whose shot was blocked behind for a corner.
With 7 minutes remaining Talbot made a double change. Samson and Shankland making way for the return of Boyd from injury and Fairbairn from the under 20 squad.
Fairbairn made an immediate impact bursting forward on the right before helping the ball onto Boyd who saw his shot blocked.
In the final minute of regulation time Muirkirk had a good chance to snatch a late consolation effort. Monan met O’Neill’s cross from the right but sent his header just over the bar.
Deep into injury time Fairbairn slid a pass through to Taylor inside the area and he managed to get away from a couple of challenges before hitting a low drive on target that Bogle held.
A comfortable enough win in the end for Talbot who are back on cup duty next Saturday when they host Neilston in the South Challenge cup.
Auchinleck Talbot – Leishman, Stafford, Aiden Wilson, McPherson, Ballantyne, Armstrong, Wardrope, Taylor, Samson, Shankland, Crawford
Subs – Graham Wilson, Fairbairn, White, Mason, Boyd
Muirkirk – Bogle, Collins, Marriott, Bryan, Boyle, Rough, O’Neill, Hay, Wight, Gordon, Clark
Subs – Peck, Monan, Patton, Gray, McLean, Bishop
Sponsor: Cameron Torrance; Isla McCurdy
SPONSOR: Jim McCluskie, Dorethy Lawrence
BIO: Ross joined Talbot in July 2022 after leaving Morton. He played the previous season on loan to Kilbirnie Ladeside where he became a fans favourite playing at right back. He has been a teenage sensation since joining Talbot and celebrated his Scottish Cup baptism by grabbing a hat-trick against Coldstream
SPONSOR: Billy Blackmore School of Motoring
BIO: This will be Ally’s second spell at Talbot where he first joined them in 2011 from Clyde. He had a productive youth career at Rangers and Hibernian before joining Clyde and carried this on into the then Junior grade. He left Talbot in 2015 playing for Glenafton until 2020 when he joined Beith Juniors. He returned to Talbot at the beginning of this season.
SPONSORs: Loons Supporters Club
The 22 year old 6ft right or left back joins as a free transfer from Lowland side Broomhill and has been training with Talbot for the last three weeks, which gave Tucker the chance to run the rule over the player before offering him a contract.
Lewis has had experience in the SPFL and the lower leagues starting his career at Dumbarton U17’s and Clyde U20’s. He was released by Clyde in July 2018 and spent a season at Petershill before making the move to the SPFL with Dumbarton. He spent over a year with the “Sons” which included a loan spell at Rossvale and an appearance at Pittodrie in 2020 when Dumbarton narrowly lost out to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup.
In September 2020 he left Dumbarton to play with Linlithgow Rose for a season and then Broomhill who were managed by former Talbot legend Davie Gormley.
SPONSORS: Stephen Ferroll, Loons Supporters Club.
BIO: Mick had four years in the Ayr United youth system between 2013 and 2017 with a loan to Glenafton Athletic in between. He joined Kilwinning Rangers in 2017 spending two seasons at the “Ger’s” before joining Ardrossan Winton Rovers. In 2019 he was with Hurlford United for a couple of season’s before a short Irvine Meadow spell was followed by his March signing at Talbot.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL FLYNN.